(May 2, 2017 - La Crosse. WI)
Cade Laufenberg of Winona, Minnesota, won the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Great Lakes Division opener presented by Navionics on the Mississippi River Saturday after weighing five bass totaling 22 pounds, 3 ounces. For his victory, Laufenberg took home $6,016.
Laufenberg said he split his day between two areas he had found in practice – one on the north end of Pool No. 8, and the other on the south end. He said he put around 20 pounds of bass in the boat on the lower end within 30 minutes, including a 3-pounder on his first cast.
“I was fishing a wing dam near a spawning area,” said Laufenberg, a former standout YETI FLW College Fishing angler who now has four career-victories in FLW competition. “There was a special spot in there that you had to pinpoint with your cast. It was about as big as my boat deck. There was some sand that created a current seam and I was focusing right where the current met the slackwater.
“The location was crucial,” continued Laufenberg. “Any fish that were in that spawning area were pulled out because of a cold front that had passed through.”
Laufenberg said he caught everything he weighed in on a 5-inch Pearly Shad-colored Big Bite Baits Suicide Shad swimbait on a 1/8-ounce Gamakatsu Superline Swimbait Head. He said he caught 30 to 40 bass throughout his day, and that his limit that he brought to the scale consisted entirely of smallmouth.
“I finished out the event in the mouth of a small spawning pocket on the north end where two points came together,” said Laufenberg. “The fish were positioned right between them. I just rolled the swimbait through and ended up culling out three more fish. It was incredible.”
The top 10 boaters finished the tournament in:
1st: Cade Laufenberg, Winona, Minn., five bass, 22-3, $6,016
2nd: Mike Brueggen, La Crosse, Wis., five bass, 18-6, $2,523
3rd: Fernando Lobato, Sparta, Wis., five bass, 16-2, $1,682
4th: Nathan Huss, Elkhart Lake, Wis., five bass, 15-15, $1,177
5th: Ron Taylor, Chicago, Ill., five bass, 15-10, $1,009
6th: Kevin Ruh, Onalaska, Wis., five bass, 15-9, $1,025
7th: Dan Mohn, Lansing, Iowa, five bass, 15-8, $841
8th: Jim Caulum, Rockland, Wis., five bass, 15-4, $757
9th: Travis Brueggen, Cashton, Wis., five bass, 15-3, $673
10th: Bob Oines, Galesville, Wis., five bass, 15-2, $889
Laufenberg also caught a bass weighing 6 pounds, 4 ounces – the heaviest of the event in the Boater Division – which earned him the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $770.
Shawn Overton of Coal Valley, Illinois, won the Co-angler Division and $2,623 Saturday after bringing a five-bass limit totaling 15 pounds, 1 ounce to the scale.
The top 10 co-anglers were:
1st: Shawn Overton, Coal Valley, Ill., five bass, 15-1, $2,623
2nd: Donald Roscovius, Tomah, Wis., five bass, 13-15, $1,262
3rd: Bryan Bergman, Monona, Wis., five bass, 13-14, $891
4th: Chad Smith, Davenport, Iowa, four bass, 12-8, $589
5th: Jared Greninger, Byron, Ill., four bass, 12-6, $697
6th: Rollie Truehl, DeForest, Wis., five bass, 11-9, $463
7th: Alan Bernicky, Joliet, Ill., five bass, 11-6, $399
7th: John Pliwko, Plover, Wis., four bass, 11-6, $399
9th: Tim Willihnganz, Madison, Wis., five bass, 11-5, $336
10th: Josh Mohn, Lansing, Iowa, five bass, 11-4, $294
Tom Zenanko of Prior Lake, Minnesota, caught the biggest bass among Co-angler Division anglers, a fish weighing 4 pounds, 13 ounces. The catch earned him the day’s Co-angler Big Bass award of $192.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 12-14 BFL Regional Championship on the Barren River in Scottsville, Kentucky. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.
The 2017 BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, with 128 tournaments throughout the season, five qualifying events in each division.
The top 45 boaters and co-anglers from each division, along with the five winners of the qualifying events, will advance to one of six regional tournaments where they are competing to finish in the top six, which then qualifies them for one of the longest-running championships in all of competitive bass fishing – the BFL All-American. Top performers in the BFL can move up to the Costa FLW Series or even the FLW Tour.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2017 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW conducts more than 274 bass-fishing tournaments annually across the United States and sanctions tournaments in Canada, China, Mexico, South Africa and South Korea. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show, broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros.